Governor Gavin Newsom highlighted the state’s economic wins today in his keynote address at the California Economic Summit in downtown Fresno, citing big investments in regional education.
Economic growth, he said, tends to happen along the coast and is not shared statewide.
“Growth must mean inclusion and inclusion means ensuring that the Central Valley and Inland Empire get the resources and attention from state leaders necessary to strengthen economic opportunity,” he said. “That's why I'm here today."
But he said there are positive changes coming to the Valley. He spoke highly of the new Fresno DRiVE or Developing the Region’s Inclusive and Vibrant Economy initiative, a $4.2 billion investment plan proposed by the Central Valley Community Foundation and local organizations to improve the city’s economic opportunities.
“What you put together, that document, is as good as it gets,” Newsom said of DRiVE. “It is the spirit of regions rising together and it’s a template for this state. It really is. And so my commitment to you is to make it real.”
The governor also pledged $10 million to the Fresno Collaborative, a regional education pilot program which is one of the DRiVE initiatives. The collaborative integrates school districts, community colleges and universities to better serve students.
Speaking to the media after his keynote, he said he would commit to the goals of the DRiVE initiative: “We’re plugging in to a lot of their proposals. A lot of things we’re already amplifying, like the earned income tax credit, which we doubled last year, early childhood investments that we had substantially increased last year. These new pilot programs that I just announced, and the money we just announced is all part and parcel of that plan. So we are, in real time, applying its principles and core values.”
Newsom also noted the anniversary of Proposition 187, which passed in 1994 to stop undocumented immigrants from using public services. The law, however, was found unconstitutional by a federal district court. Newsom said California then is where the nation is now: rife with political divisiveness.
California’s legislature, he said, is largely united in wanting to find solutions to the state’s problems. The state’s economy is robust, he added, taking a jab at the President.
“We have averaged, over 5 years, 3.8 percent GDP growth, eat your heart out Donald Trump,” said Newsom. The nation’s GDP growth was at 2.9 percent in 2018.
He also disparaged Trump’s threats to pull federal funding from the state: “We didn’t stop going up to Butte County because it’s a red county and a Trump county. We care about those folks.”
His administration, he added, will open an office in Fresno, a first from the governor.
“I care deeply about this damn Valley because I care about this state,” Newsom said. “I’m so sick and tired of this notion that somehow we’re living in two different worlds in the state, coastal economy and inland economy.”